Thursday, 9 July 2020

Greengage Season.



The ladder is propped-up against the tree, and  I have been (very precariously) picking Greengages from amongst the higher branches, where they are not only better, but more abundant.

The Greengage is a funny old fruit. Not really something that is often planted in orchards today, but a good old-fashioned plum that gives good service, as long as it is 'watched over'.

Its season is short. On account of its high sugar content it's a favourite target for those insects that like to lay eggs inside a juicy fruit. Unaffected fruits are scarce, but are worth the trouble to find.

                                 

Picking them 'just right' is a question of strict observance. Too unripe they are very sour, and too ripe they are far too sweet. One has to catch them at just the right moment; and that can be during a very limited period of only three or four days.

We eat them fresh, and freeze a few for winter tarts. Some make jam, which I find far too sweet.

I would actually recommend that, if one has plenty of space, one plants a tree at the corner of one's orchard; they can do no harm, and they grow from pips. 

I classify them along with Quinces and Medlars; old fashioned but good to have growing nearby. And when caught 'just right', they are absolutely delicious!


45 comments:

  1. We used to see them here but not for years. I don't think I have tried one.

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    1. They have become an 'old fashioned' fruit. Probably far too sweet for today's taste.

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  2. I can't remember when I last had one but would prefer a peach or plum.

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    1. At this time of year, a Peach would certainly be preferable. Ours are still not ripe.

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  3. Would I climb a ladder to pick greengages? No.

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    1. Worse still, I've just been up on the roof cutting back vines that threatened to cover our satellite dish. At my age too!

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  4. We occasionally see them on our market but they are always a darkish green and not anything like ripe. When I was a child our neighbours had a tree of something they called wintercracks - I have never been able to discover what they were.

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    1. Bullaces. My mother regarded them as inedible. Grow wild in the hedgerows.

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    2. I wonder if they are what we call Bird Plums? Small wild Plums that seem to grow everywhere.

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  5. I think we might get a bumper crop of plums this year. We are planning plum wine!

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    1. I used to love the English Victoria Plums; I've tried to find a tree here, but they only seem to have the Agen 'Prune' Plum which is nowhere near as good.

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    2. Mmmm plum wine. I just might research that!

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    3. Plum eau-de-vie, even better!

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  6. I LOVE greengages ..... when I was a child they were plentiful and all of the greengrocers used to sell them. Now, you’re lucky to find them. In Edwardian times, our garden was a small market garden and there are a few trees left .... a damson, a yellow plum and what could be a greengage but they produce about five fruits between them !!! XXXX

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    1. They could probably be pruned to re-grow nice healthy branches, and give you more fruit. The trunk on our Greengage is in a terrible state, but it still produces new growth when pruned.

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    2. Well, we have the trees pruned every year and, there is blossom but not much fruit. Maybe they have a disease ? ..... and, stop going up on the roof .... Rachel and I are worried. Get a man in đŸ¤£ XXXX

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  7. We have a very old greengage tree in our garden. It has only produced fruit once in the 28 years we have lived here. The blossom in spring is very pretty though.

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    1. I suggest a good beating in winter. Tell it 'Fruit or the Axe'.

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  8. They also make good plum sauce. The colour is a bit off (brown rather than dark red) but close you eyes if the colour offends. Plum sauce is the best possible condiment on barbequed sausages.

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    1. I make Plum sauce with red Plums that I use for making Sweet/Sour sauces. It makes a wonderful flavour.

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  9. Cro... make jam with the green fruit....
    Far less sweet and plummier!!

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    Replies
    1. Too late now... they've all gone. I might try that next year; thanks.

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  10. Thanks for the plum lesson. We have a Victoria plum tree and as the blossom stayed viable for a couple of weeks in springtime there are now dozens of developing plums. The weather has been almost perfect for them in spite of recent windy days. I think the key is blossom having long enough for pollination to occur.

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    1. I wish I could get a Victoria Plum tree here, we had one in Shropshire and it was always loaded. A wonderful Plum.

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  11. I haven't heard of greengages in many years. I'm waiting for our neighbour to leave us a bag of red plums as he does every year.
    You need a safety line on that ladder. It looks a long way up

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    Replies
    1. I live dangerously. I was up on the roof this morning too, cutting away vines from the Satellite dish.

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    2. As Jackie and I know, Rod Hull came to a sad end while up on the roof fiddling with his satellite dish. Not sure how high your roof is but it is a dangerous place to be.

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    3. I know. It was early in the morning too, with no-one to catch me!

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    4. He stayed on the ground shouting the instructions

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  12. Not sure that a fruit that might be infested with bug larvae would be worth climbing a tall ladder to get.

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    1. One can easily tell which have the bugs in, and which don't. There's usually a drip of transparent goo coming out somewhere; I leave those for the birds!

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  13. The plum of my youth was called Peach Plum.
    Gone to family legend now, it had a devine
    fragrance when ripe.

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    1. If it had the flavour of half peach/half plum, it sounds wonderful. I wonder what it was?

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  14. I planted a few small fruit trees, hoping they'd grow. I skipped plum because the space i had in mind was going to house several apple rootstock trees so i could try my hand at grafting from my ancient apple tree. I'll have to see if i can find greengages here--if they grow from pips, it won't hurt to try.

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    1. Just buy a few ounces of them, and plant the pips, they always grow to type. If you have the room for another tree they are a good fruit to have.

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  15. The very first greengages I ever ate were bought on a market stall in France in the village where we now live. I thought I had never tasted anything so delicious before in my whole life and it added to the feeling of "this is where I want to live".

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    1. When perfectly ripe (not over ripe) they are as you say, totally delicious.

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  16. Do greengages need other plum trees around to set fruit?

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    1. I have a feeling that they're self-pollinating, with Bees doing most of the hard work.

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  17. I can't imagine that if many of your blog followers plant a greengage from seed this year that they will be harvesting them very often. A friend had greengages but they were never very palatable at a time when I was there.

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    1. As I said above, one needs to catch them just right. I would suggest that the correct season lasts for one week only.

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  18. Does Mrs. M hover at the base of that fairly tall ladder?

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    Replies
    1. She might look at it from a safe distance, but that's about it.

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